Bengal is likely to be tested thoroughly by Baroda in a Ranji Trophy Elite Group ‘A’ match starting Tuesday at the Bengal Cricket Academy ground in Kalyani.
Almost all the batters in Baroda’s line-up are in form — the team scored more than 600 runs in an innings twice this season. Bengal’s bowlers, therefore, will have the big task of reigning them in. They will hope to make the best use of the familiar conditions at home. What slightly tilts the scales in their favour is the fact that the visiting team is playing just its second game away from home.
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The return of fast bowler Mukesh Kumar, who was away on India duty, is a big bonus for Bengal. He will team up with Ishan Porel and Akash Deep to bolster the pace department. With all-rounder Sayan Sekhar Mondol also likely to add muscle, the bowling looks robust with spinners Shahbaz Ahmed and Pradipta Pramanik also in good touch.
The batting has come good in the last few matches. Abhimanyu Easwaran and Sudip Gharami have shown consistent form, stringing up a few good partnerships. Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary can also turn to the experienced Anustup Majumdar and Avishek Das for contributions.
With two wins in four matches, Bengal, so far unbeaten, has secured 19 points so far in the competition. It has a handy six-point lead over third-placed Baroda, which is currently on 13 points after four matches.